Friday, April 15, 2016

Shrimp Boat Grille

After a long hiatus where our schedules collided and kept us from getting together our gang of eight finally pinned down a Great Escape date that worked for all of us. We had some lost time to make up for and boy did we hit a winner with Shrimp Boat Grille.
Several years ago I'd been to Shrimp Boat Grille at it's original location on Lumsden and Kings and although we liked the food we didn't hurry back because the atmosphere was kind of dark and eventually it fell off our radar. But we were delighted to see their beautiful new location on Bloomingdale Avenue. The decor is lovely, warm and bright with a separate bar area that was lit with cozy blue lights meant to draw you in. Business was booming on this Friday night and the restaurant was packed. Our waitress Haley was friendly and efficient and we were treated to entertainment provided by the very talented Ron Cunningham who I learned is there every Friday evening. The music was just right for dining and thankfully not so loud that we couldn't converse.
Hubby had Shrimp Marinara over Linguini, a generous portion and one he declared very satisfying (he liked it!)
I had Grilled Mahi topped with Shrimp and Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce and switched out the Cilantro Rice for the more sensible veggie side (yes I'm dieting again). It was absolutely delicious and I would order it again.
Both Kathy and Hollie had Seared Salmon A La Meunierepan topped with Spinach over Cilantro-Lime Rice - but Hollie switched out the Salmon for Mahi. I like when restaurants are flexible enough to make these adjustments. The presentation was beautiful and I'm told very tasty indeed.
Cheryl & Ken opted for Coconut Shrimp, Panko Coated and served with Pina Colada Sauce and a side. I have to say they were the biggest shrimp I'd ever seen! The serving was so large doggie bags were needed. Yum, lunch tomorrow.
All around us I could see nothing but smiling satisfied faces.
Shrimp Boat Grille offers a Four Course Tasting Menu on Saturday Nights and I'd like to give that a try some time. Owner/Chef Al Paone Sr. and his son Al Paone Jr. are offering an exciting menu. I recommend this restaurant and can't wait to return soon.
The dessert menu was tempting but we had planned dessert and coffee at our house and after that very satisfying meal we needed the drive time to digest. We indulged in a Publix Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream, served up with a side of laughter while we listened to Fleetwood Mac.
1020 Bloomingdale Avenue, Valrico, FL, 33596
Shrimp Boat Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Hubby and I escape every chance we get - it's good for us to get away from our daily routine, to explore new cities, new restaurants, new cultures. But this time I AM THE ESCAPE! That's dear sister and brother-in-law were in town for a few days to celebrate Easter Sunday....just like the good old days.
We left New York City twelve years ago to "sort of" retire and enjoy warmer climes. And we do love it here in Florida. But unfortunately we left behind family - son, daughter, granddaughter, sister and of course dear old friends. It's a trade off really, and not an easy decision. We miss them all the time and eagerly await their yearly visits. But this visit was special because it was Easter, and we hadn't celebrated that holiday together in a very, very long time. So we pulled out all the stops.
There were ten of us at the table including our cousins who live here in Florida and it was just like old times. The five of us sister/cousins have been celebrating holidays together since we were babies - and it's a blessing to have our families that close throughout our lives. So it was a chance to be silly and wear some outlandish Easter Hats (expertly made by Aida). And of course there was all that food.
Hubby and I decided to go Spanish to pay homage to my roots, and despite his Italian roots he has a real talent for cooking like my mama used to. Here was the menu...and let me give a shout out to Angelo's kitchen bible, a book we bought in Puerto Rico many years ago "Rice & Beans & Tasty Things" by Dora Romano. It is well thumbed and covered with food spills and we love it. (I seriously think he was switched at birth and is really a Puerto Rican disguised as an Italian)
Roast Pork (Pernil)- Angelo's recipe, tender, flavorful
White Rice (the perfect vehicle to complement the beans)and of course, The Red Beans (wow)
Grilled Asparagus Spears (my contribution - yes I took the easy way out but I have many other fine qualities - I don't have to cook too!)
Sweet Plantains (Maduros) (Goya, Oh Boya)
Salads - Martha made a Fabulous Garden Salad and Green Bean Salad
Flan - perfectly executed by Grace, the Queen of Flan
Family gatherings are precious and the older we get the more we treasure our times together. Here's hoping we have many more years to celebrate - together! A La Familia!